Secondhand Smoke Linked to Fetal Death
Study Observes Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Pregnant Women
The study, headed by epidemiologist Andrew Hyland, was conducted at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York on the effects of secondhand smoke on pregnant women.
The study reviewed the medical history of 80,762 women between the ages of 50 and 79, and researchers asked questions about pregnancy problems and how much secondhand smoke the women had been exposed to as children and adults.
The highest level of exposure was defined as secondhand smoke exposure for 10 years during childhood, at least 20 years during adulthood and at least 10 years in the workplace.
Results of the Secondhand Smoke Study
The study found that:
- Risks associated with secondhand smoke were almost as high as risks connected to the women’s own cigarette smoking.
- Women who had never smoked themselves but had been exposed to any smoke secondhand had a 22% higher chance of having a stillbirth than those who had not been exposed.
- Women who had the highest levels of exposure had a 55% higher chance of having a stillbirth.
- Risk of miscarriage and risk of tubal pregnancy was 17% and 61% higher respectively for exposed women.
While researchers were unable to confirm cause and effect relationship, it is apparent that secondhand smoke exposure should be minimized for pregnant women
The American Cancer Society says that 10-15% of pregnant woman smoke throughout their pregnancy and that 5% of infant deaths could be prevented if their mothers did not smoke.